Hotel Online  Special Report


Mohammad Zolfagharian, Room Service Server at the Calgary Marriott Hotel, 
Receives the J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence
WASHINGTON – June 7, 2006 – Local resident Mohammad Zolfagharian, room service server at the Calgary Marriott Hotel, will be among 10 select Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE:MAR) worldwide employees honoured tonight with the J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence, the 143,000-employee company's highest form of recognition.

A native of Iran, Zolfagharian first came to Alberta in 1990 in an attempt to flee the political unrest and persecution of his home country, where he was had been unjustly imprisoned for several years.  As a result of his forced emigration, Zolfagharian has not seen his family since departing for Canada.

Despite having suffered such injustices, Zolfagharian refuses to be bitter and instead concentrates his efforts on the needs of his guests.  Zolfagharian takes tremendous pride in his work and exhausts every effort to ensure customer satisfaction with his service.

“Mohammad is a unique and true ambassador of Marriott, and embodies the ideals of achievement, character, dedication, effort and perseverance,” said Christy Hood, human resources manager at Calgary Marriott.

A recipient of Calgary’s White Hat Award and the Canadian Tourism Employee of the Year, Zolfagharian is currently working with well-known motivational speaker Richard Robbins on a book about service.  The two men first met when the Zolfagharian served breakfast to Robbins three mornings in a row.  Robbins was so impressed with Zolfagharian that he was prompted to write an article entitled, “A Man Named Mohammad.”

Established in 1987 in honour of the company's founder, the Award of Excellence is presented to Marriott employees nominated by their supervisors or peers for their outstanding performance, and for demonstrating the five key traits inscribed on the award medallion: achievement, character, dedication, effort and perseverance.

Zolfagharian received an all-expense paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., for a three-day celebration, and was recognized at tonight’s special awards gala at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in North Bethesda, Md.  The gala, broadcast to Marriott locations across the United States, was viewed by more than 2,000 associates, family members and business partners.

“Each year Marriott’s Award of Excellence honourees represent the ‘best of the best’ from around the world,” said J.W. Marriott, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer for Marriott International.  “These associates are outstanding ambassadors of Marriott’s Spirit to Serve Our Guests initiative, ensuring that each customer is given first-class, personalized service at every level of contact.  We celebrate these dedicated employees and their tremendous contributions every day as they enhance the guest experience, and support their fellow associates and their communities.”

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. (NYSE:MAR) is a leading lodging company with nearly 2,800 lodging properties in the United States and 66 other countries and territories.  Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club International, Horizons, The Ritz-Carlton Club and Grand Residences by Marriott  brands; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers.  The company is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has approximately 143,000 employees at 2005 year-end.  In fiscal year 2005, Marriott International reported sales from continuing operations of $11.6 billion.  For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at


Stephanie Marton

Also See: The 272-room Melbourne-Oceanfront Crowne Plaza in Florida, Opens Following a 15-month Renovation and Conversion from the Holiday Inn Brand / January 2006
Lodgian Recruits Tom Poehailo to Head Up the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Macon / May 2005


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